Hillcats swept by Blue Rocks in doubleheader
The Lynchburg Hillcats were swept by the Wilmington Blue Rocks in a de facto doubleheader on Thursday, falling in the resumption of the suspended game, 4-3, and dropping the regularly scheduled contest in shutout fashion, 1-0.
The Hillcats (24-27, 56-62) lost on a walk-off balk in the first game on Thursday, and were one-hit in the series finale by Wilmington (27-25, 71-50).
At the time of the suspension, the Hillcats had runners at first and second base with nobody out. Connor Smith was at the plate in a 1-1 count. Jodd Carter singled to lead off the frame and Cody Farhat reached on a fielder’s choice sacrifice bunt.
The Hillcats and Blue Rocks each went scoreless in the ninth, sending the game to extra innings. With Mitch Reeves as the automatic runner at second base to start the frame, Gavin Collins drove him home for the go-ahead run to put the Hillcats ahead, 3-2.
Wilmington would counter with the tying run in the bottom of the tenth. Cristian Perez was the automatic runner and quickly scored on an RBI single by MJ Melendez, evening the game at 3-3.
Still tied going to the bottom of the eleventh inning, automatic runner Brewer Hicklen advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Isbel. After Tyler Hill was intentionally walked, Yapson Gomez (Loss, 1-5) struck out Nick Pratto for the second out. With Perez batting, Hicklen broke for home plate in an attempted steal, but Gomez was called for a balk, giving Wilmington the walk-off win.
Wilmington struck first in the first inning. Ricky Aracena walked and stole second base. Later in the inning with one out, Kyle Isbel lined an RBI single to score Aracena, giving the Blue Rocks an early 1-0 lead.
In the third, the Royals affiliate added another run. Aracena tripled to start the frame and touched home after Juan Mota uncorked a wild pitch, widening the gap to 2-0.
Lynchburg chipped away at the deficit by scoring a run in the fifth. Will Benson walked to start the inning and moved to second after Jonathan Laureano singled. A fly out from Carter moved Benson and Laureano up to second and third, and a two-out RBI single from Farhat plated Benson to make it a 2-1 game.
Lynchburg evened the score at 2-2 in the eighth. Kwan singled and advanced to second base on an error by left fielder Tyler Hill. With two out, Mitch Reeves grooved a bloop RBI single to right field, scoring Kwan to tie the game.
Mota allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out two. Luis Jimenez tossed a scoreless seventh inning and Aaron Pinto fired a clean eighth. Gomez allowed two unearned runs in 2.2 innings with four strikeouts.
Jonathan Bowlan worked six innings and gave up a run on five hits, striking out four. Walker Sheller pitched a scoreless seventh, while Josh Mitchell allowed the tying run in the eighth. Collin Snider picked up the final out of the eighth and stranded the bases loaded. Andrew Beckwith (Win, 3-0) fired three innings and gave up an unearned run.
REGULARLY SCHEDULED GAME
The Hillcats were held without a hit through eight innings, breaking up Kris Bubic’s (Win, 6-3) no-hit bid in the top of the ninth. Jason Rodriguez broke up the no-no with a bloop single to left field, but Bubic was able to retire the next three hitters to toss his second consecutive complete game.
The only run of the game came in the fourth inning. Kyle Isbel led off the frame with a triple and scored on an infield RBI single from Nick Pratto.
Juan Hillman (loss, 4-12) spun a gem for Lynchburg, going a season-high 7.1 innings and giving up just one run on five hits, striking out eight. Felix Tati picked up the final two outs of the eighth.
Bubic struck out 11 batters over nine innings, walking one and giving up just one hit.
The loss was Lynchburg’s 14th shutout defeat this season.
The Hillcats will return to City Stadium on Friday when the Carolina Mudcats, A-Adv. affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers come to town for a three-game set. Weekend highlights include First Responders Night on Saturday with post-game fireworks sponsored by Hill City Pharmacy. Friday’s contest will also feature a post-game fireworks show presented by Pepsi. Sunday’s game will be a Sandlot Sunday where all kids in attendance will be able to run the bases after the conclusion of the game.
The Hillcats will send right-hander Cody Morris (2-0, 3.90) to the hill in the series-opener against Muddies righty Nelson Hernandez (10-9, 4.34). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at City Stadium.
Max Gun and Anders Jorstad will be on the air at 6:25 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.
For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.